Based on the classic story by Hans Christian Anderson, The Red Shoes is a gothic and gory yarn adapted and directed by Emma Rice.
We are guided through the blood-spattered tale by Lady Lydia (Giles King) – a commanding narrator who dictates who of his chorus quartet plays whom.
Donning the most basic of costumes over their grubby vests and pants, the ensemble bring to life the rich array of characters who make up this grisly story. A Shoemaker (Robert Lucksay) presents the Girl (Patrycja Kujawska) with a pair of mesmerising red shoes – an orphan brought up by an Old Lady (Dave Mynne), the Girl revels in the chance to dance with abandon and delight. But be careful what you wish for, because eventually the Girl can’t stop dancing, alone and exhausted she must turn to the Butcher (Mike Shepherd) for help.
Visually exciting from the off, and with live music from the cast and musicians Stu Barker and Ian Ross, The Red Shoes is a surreal and distorted cabaret of a show. All of the performers are superb, with Kujawska managing to dance with a grace and an ugliness that is mesmerising.
A pitch black ‘fairytale’ - in part baffling, in part beautiful, but always compelling and inventive.